Punish Them as Severely as They Did Us





Punish them as severely as they did to us
(This petition was forwarded from the UN’s Cambodian Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights)


My name is Sok Sunday, male, 34. I reside in Chamkar Luong village, Veang Chass sub-district, Udong district, Kampong Speu province.
To: The Director of the UN Office of Human Rights in Cambodia and Embassies in Cambodia with respect.
Ieng Sary, Khieu Samphan, Nuon Chea, Chann Yourann, Ta Mok, Duch, Mak Ben and other former Khmer Rouge leaders committed injustices against me. They murdered my father, three uncles, a younger sibling and grandparents, totaling 7, and millions of innocent Cambodians during the three-year-eight-month-and-twenty-day period of Khmer Rouge control [in 1975-79].
The stories of their deaths are as follows:
After the Khmer Rouge victory over the Lon Nol government on 17 April 1975, the Khmer Rouge expelled people, including my family, from cities and suburban areas to the countryside. My village in Phnom Penh was Chroy Chanva. My home was situated near the city water pump on the riverbank. On 20 April 1975, my family was forced to leave home on our personal boat from Chroy Chanva village to our first stop at Rokakaong pagoda before moving on to Prek Por. From Prek Por, we traveled by ox-cart days and nights through bamboo swamp, resting at meal times, until we arrived a village the Khmer Rouge allowed us to live in. At first, they told us to stay in the church of Prey Sovann pagoda, called Prey Sva pagoda. One night later, the village chief called us to stay under a villager’s house, which had no walls. We were in Prey Sva village, Chrey Khmum sub-district, Seithor sub-district, Prey Veng province.
Five days passed, my younger (three-year-old) sibling drank unclean water, which caused vomiting and diarrhea. My parents brought my sibling to the sub-district hospital, but as the hospital had no medicine, my younger sibling died soon after being brought back home.
Most distressingly, a few days after the death of my younger sibling, the village chief summoned my father and other new people of about the same age to make biographies. My father told the village chief the truth that he was a former naval captain at Chroy Chanva. Other people also told him exactly about their former occupations.
After being questioned, the village chief told them to return to work as usual. Four or five days later, the village chief arrived at night to invite my father, who was collecting rainwater, and other people he called several days earlier to attend a study session. At that time, my mother put some clothes into a white plastic bag for him, but my father told her the clothes were not needed because they called him to kill him. Despite knowing he was called to die, he did not run, because he was afraid they would hurt our family. On that day, he left with nothing, except the clothes he was wearing.  After they killed my father, the Khmer Rouge claimed our property; including motorcycles, crockery, and other belongings; to be shared by the cooperative.
Three months later, my grandfather began to get sick. At first it was minor, but this barbarous regime did not have medical care. He later died. The village chief told us to bury him. We had no coffin to put him in, we had only sleeping mat to wrap his body. In just three months, three people in my family had perished.
Later they evacuated my family to Battambang province by boat. After staying in Ponhea Leu pagoda for two or three days along the way, a few trucks arrived to take evacuees waiting in the pagoda to a train station to Battambang. Because my uncle had paralyzed legs, they said that the journey required some walking after the train journey and no one would be able to carry him a long way. They told us to unload our belongings and stay. We waited many more days for a boat to bring us back to the village we left. In the pagoda, they let us stay in an abandoned, unwalled coffin storehouse with no bed. We slept on the ground and as we looked up we saw scary coffins stored on the attic.
Days passed and we were running out of food. We collected plants to make salted rice soup. When the boat arrived, we were all sick, unable to get up, except my grandmother, who at the village took thin rice soup from the cooperative kitchen for us. My crippled uncle and grandmother’s older sister were unable to recover and had serious diarrhea without medicine. They died soon afterward.
Before we gained full recovery, unit chiefs called my mother and two uncles to dig a water channel and fetch water for the workers at the work site. The water source was 7 km from the village and we did that everyday.
In mid-1978, my two uncles fell ill with knee injuries. The Khmer Rouge accused them of pretending to be sick to avoid working, so they took them, along with other four or five patients, to be killed at Prey Sva pagoda. This pagoda was a large killing field where people of all age groups, male and female, were brought from other provinces and ruthlessly executed. Execution tools consisted of a long knife, a hoe, and a bamboo pole. There were 30 to 40 mass graves containing 20 to 30 bodies each. In around September 1978, as the pagoda was flooded, the bodies swelled, pushing up from under the shallow graves. Dogs tore and ate the rotten flesh.
As for me, I was just seven years old and was separated from my older siblings and mother and forced to work very hard. Everyday at 4 am I walked 3 or 4 km from the village to collect manure for the rice fields, then I dug a cubic meter of earth to build a road. In the afternoon, I led four cows to eat grass along farm dikes. I was pulled to the ground many times by the cows.
One afternoon the sky darkened and it began to rain. My four cows were hungry and started eating rice seedlings in a field [near Prey Sva pagoda]. I could not stop them, so I let go the ropes. I was cold and afraid of ghosts since I was close to the pagoda crematorium.  So, I left the cows and hid in a toilet near a cattle shelter and waited for someone to bring the cows to the shelter. A moment later my grandmother brought the cows into the shelter and left. Because I was very hungry, I left the toilet and returned home to look for something to eat. The son of the chief grabbed my shirt and blamed me for letting the cows eat the seedlings.  He said he would keep me in a stupa in the pagoda. I was scared like a sheep [caught] in [the teeth] of a wolf. He dragged me to the kitchen of the cooperative. As we moved I put my palms together and begged him, “I felt dizzy that I let the cows do what they wanted. Please have mercy on me, don’t keep me in the stupa. I won’t do it again.”
When we arrived at the cooperative kitchen, the chief’s son called out two women to Kaos Khchal me [a.k.a. dermabrasion - a traditional Khmer way of curing fever and faintness by scraping one’s skin with a coin until the skin becomes red]. One woman kept me from moving, while the other scraped my back like a butcher scrapes fur from the skin of a pig. My body became red [as if whipped]. Afterwards, the chief asked, “Are you hungry?” I said yes. Then he took out a bowl of rice with salt. As I ate, he rested one leg on my chair and asked, “How is rice with salt?” I told him it was delicious and sweet. Later he let me tend only two cows. I brought my cows to higher ground and no longer fed them on farm dikes, nor did I let go of the rope.
One day the cows became agitated and pulled the rope through my palm. The rope cut through the corner of my thumb and the wound bled heavily and I cried.  I was all alone and had no medicine. I urinated on the cut to prevent it from getting infected. Then I tied the ropes around my wrists and walked back to the village.
These stories about the death of my family members and the torture I received, are true. I was a child who received more punishment than the others in my village.
Please Mr./Mrs. president of human rights organization of the United Nations and justice loving countries such as England, Australia, France and other countries put more effort to push the UN to negotiate with the Cambodian government to permit the International Criminal Court (ICC) established in July 2002 to bring the surviving murderers to trial to seek justice for my family and other victims.
I would like the ICC to:
Summon the top criminals mentioned above and their conspirators to court as soon as possible, for the Khmer Rouge leaders are getting old.
Punish them as severely as they did to us.
I have attached my picture and my deceased family members’ pictures along with my right thumbprint.
Sok Sanday






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